More than 20 million Medicare beneficiaries (34%) are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans, which are mainly HMOs and PPOs offered by private insurers as an alternative to the traditional Medicare program. This brief provides an overview of the Medicare Advantage plans that will be available in 2019, based on an analysis of data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Findings include:
Number of Plans.Nationwide, 2,734 Medicare Advantage plans will be available for individual enrollment in 2019 – an increase of 417 plans since 2018. The preponderance of the growth in plans will occur in Florida. The average beneficiary will be able to choose among 24 plans in 2019, up from 21 in 2018. The number of Special Needs Plans (SNPs) will also increase from 630 plans in 2018 to 717 plans in 2019.
Variation in Number of Plans Across Counties. The number of Medicare Advantage plans will vary greatly across counties in 2019, from more than 50 plans in 6 counties (1% of beneficiaries) to two or fewer plans in 246 counties (2% of beneficiaries), including 115 counties (with 1% of beneficiaries) in which no plans will be offered in 2019.
Number of Firms. The average beneficiary will be able to choose from plans offered by seven firms in 2019, with large variation across counties. Seven percent of all Medicare beneficiaries will have a choice of plans offered by two or fewer firms while 19 percent of beneficiaries will be able to choose from plans offered by 10 or more firms.
Market Entrants and Exits. Fourteen insurers will be entering the Medicare Advantage market for the first time in 2019, offering products in 26 states. Five insurers, together accounting for about 23,000 Medicare beneficiaries in 2018, will be exiting in 2019, four of which offered SNPs in 2018. These firms account for a small share of the insurers offering Medicare Advantage plans in 2019.
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